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European San Francisco

Over the past decade, Portugal’s capital, Lisbon, has successfully overcome its economic issues and has revived itself as a global start-up hub. Portugal’s scale up ecosystem is now growing twice as fast as the European average, meaning that many start-ups and co-working spaces have been created as a result, which are only expected to develop further.

The start-up economy in Lisbon is particularly interesting, and due to the low cost of living/high quality of life balance, a huge number of entrepreneurs from around the world are beginning to consider the Portuguese city as a potential location for business development. With many old, derelict buildings breathing new life, and urban revitalisation creating a number of jobs, the entire economy is beginning to develop and improve.

Economic downturn

One of the major reasons why entrepreneurship is heavily relied on in Portugal is due to the fact that they were one of the hardest hit countries in Europe during the financial crisis of 2008. Many Portuguese citizens, particularly young university students who had just graduated, left the country in order to find new opportunities abroad. Now, with Brexit and worldwide political unrest, many professionals returning to Portugal are bringing business opportunities with them and new expatriates.

The success story

There are many reasons why the idea of turning to start-ups and scale-ups to help boost the economy, became a success for the Lisbon. Salaries are generally lower here than the majority of other European cities, meaning start-ups are able to hire a higher number of employees. On top of this, living costs are equally as low, helping to attract foreign workers to the country. With the familiarity of the English language helping trade to be more accessible, and foreign start-ups to thrive, entrepreneurs are flooding to Lisbon.

The mega campus

With this in mind, Lisbon has unveiled their new ‘Mega Campus’. Both national and local governments are looking at underdeveloped areas as a potential for growth, with one area in particular known as the Beato District, being targeted as the location for a new Mega Campus. This was previously a factory complex made of 20 buildings. This has led the neighbourhood to develop dramatically, with a range of creative businesses already in place there. This is set to rival the start-up hub in Paris known as Station F, and is said to cover around 100,000 square metres by the time phase two is complete. Known as Hub Criativo do Beato (Beato Creative Hub), this vision is set to push Lisbon even further ahead of a number of European cities.

The impact

With a number of entrepreneurs from around the world looking at Lisbon as a potential for business growth and start-up ventures, Lisbon is set to become a European leader, and potentially even a start-up hub for the world.

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